Legal red tape creates barriers for vaccine restitution

Parents of children who have been injured by vaccinations may not be aware of just how much of a role the federal government plays in whether or not compensation is received for the injury. In October 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was put into place and was established for several reasons. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration website, the VICP was formed to “help ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize the cost of vaccines, and to establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by vaccinations.”

Unfortunately the website, which is full of legal rhetoric and difficult to follow links would make it virtually impossible for any regular person to navigate and properly fill out the mountain of forms that would be necessary to start a claim. The website works in conjunction with the US Department of Health and Human Services, US Dept. of Justice, and the US Court of Federal claims. Organizations such as this have been formed to help prevent lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, and does provide these companies with certain amount of protection to help limit liability and prevent lawsuits from ever going to trial.

In order to file a claim with the VICP, petitioners must collect a variety of documents. Some of which must be prepared by a lawyer, then submitted to the proper organizations for a long and lengthy consideration. In some cases, it may be difficult to produce some of the required information. Specifics required can include documentation of: which vaccine caused the injury, when the vaccine was given, the type of injury, when the symptoms first appeared in a variety of other data including birth certificates, hospital birth records, and delivery records and any documentation of the previous state of health.

In order to file a civil lawsuit against the vaccine manufacturer, or the person who administered the vaccination, you must first file a claim with the VICP. Walking this tightrope of legal information can be overwhelming and the site recommends having a lawyer on hand for the process. Governing agencies such as these do not intend to make the process of applying for litigation simple or pain-free. For the scores of parents and injured children around the country and around the world who have suffered an injury at the hands of vaccines, having to file more paperwork and dealing with the difficulties of legal red tape only make the process more frustrating and more discouraging.

The VICP is banking on the fact that parents, and caregivers of the injured will give up in the process and not pursue further litigation. Just this year, after the case of the Pennsylvania family who filed a lawsuit regarding injuries to their six-month-old daughter after receiving a diptheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine, the US Supreme Court ruled that under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, but the vaccine manufacturer could not be sued stating that an injury from a vaccine caused by “unavoidable side effects” as long as the vaccine was properly manufactured and directions and warnings were included with the injection.

In cases such as this, the David vs. Goliath challenge of obtaining legal restitution is a challenge to say the least. Many parents have been forced to face these challenges only to be left with nothing in the end, and its because of barriers just like this that the challenge is especially difficult.

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